Climate scientists blame Exxon lobbyists for disinformation that undermines efforts to reduce emissions and global warming

CO2 emissions
  • A leaked draft report by top climate scientists blamed lobbyists for climate change disinformation.
  • The report said the disinformation is stalling efforts to curb emissions, Politico reported.
  • An Exxon official was previously caught on camera talking about the company’s lobbying strategy.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Top climate scientists blamed disinformation and lobbying campaigns including those from Exxon Mobile for slowing down efforts to curb emissions, a leaked draft report obtained by Politico said.

The report, part of an upcoming review of climate science by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has a section called “resistance to climate change science” under its North American section.

The report blamed think tanks, foundations, and trade associations that represent fossil fuel companies for spreading fake science that misleads the public and hampers efforts to curb the climate crisis.

“Rhetoric on climate change and the undermining of science have contributed to misperceptions of the scientific consensus, uncertainty, unduly discounted risk and urgency, dissent, and, most importantly, polarized public support delaying mitigation and adaptation action, particularly in the US,” the report said.

This comes after Greenpeace investigation project Unearthed released videos showing an Exxon Mobil official who was tricked to believe he was in an interview speaking frankly about the group’s lobbying strategies.

Keith McCoy, Exxon’s senior director for federal relations, spoke about “shadow groups” working to influence senators to weaken parts of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill.

“Joe Manchin, I talk to his office every week,” McCoy bragged to the interviewer. He called the Democratic senator from West Virginia a “kingmaker” and discussed how “on the Democrat side we look for the moderates on these issues” in their efforts to stop policies that could hurt the company’s business.

In a statement, Exxon Mobil Chairman and CEO Darren Woods said: “We condemn the statements and are deeply apologetic for them, including comments regarding interactions with elected officials.”

Rep. Ro Khanna, who chairs the environment subcommittee of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, told Politico he’s spoken to government leadership about subpoenaing leaders of groups like Exxon, Chevron, and other fossil fuel companies about disinformation efforts

Khanna also said he and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse will write laws that force these companies to disclose what money is going to groups that distort climate information.

“It is a major problem. One of the reasons that we haven’t had action is that we don’t have a common source of facts,” Khanna told Politico. “Until we solve the climate disinformation issue or at least mitigate the issue, it becomes very hard to build a broad-based political consensus that is needed to take the kind of bold steps that are needed to tackle the crisis.”

Insider has reached out to Exxon for comment.

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